Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing: guidance for social landlords

Background and guidance for social landlords regarding the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH).

3.0 The EESSH ratings and methodology

3.1 The EESSH aims to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of social housing in Scotland. It sets a single minimum Energy Efficiency ( EE) rating for landlords to achieve that varies dependent upon the dwelling type and the fuel type used to heat it. The ratings reflect that some dwelling types are more or less challenging to improve than others.

3.2 The minimum EE ratings for the 2020 milestone are set out in the table below.

Table 1. EESSH minimum ratings for 2020

EE Rating ( SAP 2009)
Dwelling type Gas Electric
Flats 69 65
Four-in-a-block 65 65
Houses (other than detached) 69 65
Detached 60 60
Other fuels - SHQS requirements.

3.3 Social landlords must ensure that they achieve the relevant minimum EE ratings by the first milestone of 31 December 2020 for all applicable social housing. The intention is that further EESSH milestones may be set after this date, if it is necessary, to ensure that the energy efficiency of the social housing stock continues to improve as we approach the 2050 target in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act and that tenants benefit from acceptable levels of home energy efficiency. The planned review of EESSH in 2017 will consider any new milestones alongside issues such as progress to date and the availability of relevant funding sources.

3.4 The new standard effectively replaces Element 35 of the SHQS. Elements 31 to 34 of SHQS, which apply to particular energy-efficiency measures which must be installed in the stock, will continue to apply (although any dwelling required to meet the EESSH ratings will typically have at least these upgrades installed). Non-energy-efficiency elements of SHQS will also continue to apply. In addition, to act as a safeguard the dwelling's current EI rating should not decrease as new measures are installed.

3.5 Given the relatively small numbers involved (coal itself accounts for less than 1% of the social stock), the minimum EE ratings for dwellings which use fuel types other than gas or electricity, such as solid mineral fuel (e.g. coal), Liquid Petroleum Gas ( LPG), oil and biomass, continue at their current levels as set in Element 35 of the SHQS. Social landlords will of course still be considering how to improve these properties, for example fuel-switching may be an option which arises. Again this position will be reviewed in 2017.

"Reasonable Measures" methodology

3.6 Working closely with an External Working Group, whose membership was drawn from social landlords and representative bodies, the Scottish Government developed the proposed EESSH ratings by applying a set of "reasonable measures" to representative stock types using the RdSAP methodology, assuming that the dwellings were already compliant with SHQS. SHQS compliance remains a target for April 2015 as part of complying with the social housing charter. These reasonable measures are set out in the table below, although not all of them are relevant to all house types (loft insulation being one obvious example). They were chosen on the grounds that they offer reasonable improvements in energy efficiency relative to the cost of installing them. Most measures are also eligible for external funding.

Table 2. List of reasonable measures

Condensing boilers Loft insulation top-up
Double/secondary glazing Floor insulation
Heating controls Compact fluorescent lighting
Storage heaters Solid wall insulation (external)*
* Solid wall insulation was not modelled as a reasonable upgrade for pre-1919 buildings, due to the potential technical challenges (although it may be suitable for some buildings)

General approach to compliance

3.7 It is anticipated that social landlords will generally look to install 'Reasonable Measures' first before looking at other "Additional Measures" (see below), where it has been identified that a dwelling does not already meet the minimum EESSH rating. This will follow-on from an initial consideration of what Business as Usual (BaU) works (i.e. cyclical replacement of existing elements, for example boilers, windows and storage heaters) are planned to occur anyway. In most cases, the use of BaU and reasonable Measures should achieve the relevant EESSH rating, though it is important to remember that if social landlords can achieve higher ratings, this will provide a warmer home. Social landlords, subject to cost/benefit decisions, may also decide to install measures which achieve significantly higher ratings at the outset which will mean that they are 'future-proofing' their stock.

3.8 Notwithstanding the above, it is important to note that the EESSH does not prescribe which measures must be installed so social landlords are free to meet the EESSH minimum ratings as they see fit, using any available measures. It is for landlords to identify the most cost-effective measures, in their individual operating context, and use these to achieve the standard. The EESSH website provides a range of case study examples to aid social landlords in making these decisions.

Harder to treat properties

3.9 For some harder to treat properties, Solid Wall Insulation ( SWI) may be appropriate. For other stone-built properties and pre-1919 tenements with an attractive fa├žade, Internal Wall Insulation ( IWI) can be used. It must be stressed that IWI has not been modelled in EESSH as a 'reasonable measure' for solid stone properties altogether, as it is recognised that potential disruption to tenants has to be taken into account. This is not to say IWI is not a feasible solution for some properties, and this can be undertaken with appropriate technical advice, should a social landlord wish to make these homes warmer in this way. Equally, it is possible to undertake partial External Wall Insulation (for example at the rear or gable end).

Additional measures

3.10 For the minority of properties where social landlords cannot achieve the minimum EE rating using only reasonable measures then additional measures are likely to be required. Landlords are encouraged to be creative and innovative in their approaches to improving energy efficiency and to assess all available options. A range of renewables solutions such as Biomass, Solar Hot Water, PV, Air/Ground Source Heat Pump, Micro Combined Heat and Power, may be considered. Options such as district heating, heat recovery and flat-roof insulation may also be appropriate in specific circumstances. As noted previously the decision on what measures are installed to ensure compliance with the standard lies with the individual social landlord.


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